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Millennials Are the MacGyvers of Business

January 25, 2010 by jugaad_innovation in blog page with 0 Comments

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While writing our book Jugaad Innovation, we’ve come across many innovators in the U.S. who are using the jugaad mindset — a frugal, flexible, and feisty approach to take on the country’s major socioeconomic issues. Not surprisingly, a significant number of the innovators we met were Millennials, many of whom are cynical about large corporations. According to The Affluence Collaborative40% of Millennials want to launch their own business. From our point of view, the role model for this do-it-yourself (DIY) generation is not Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or even Mark Zuckerberg, as you might expect, but could well be the fictional TV character MacGyver: the resourceful secret agent who was able to extricate himself from any predicament using a Swiss Army knife and duct tape. Like MacGyver, the resilient DIY generation believes in doing more with less.

Yuri Malina is one of the Millennials we spoke with who truly embodies a frugal and flexible DIY mindset. While he was a student at Northwestern University, the 21-year-old co-founded Design for America (DFA) with two fellow students — Mert Iseri and Hannah Chung — and Liz Gerber, a faculty member at Segal Design Institute. DFA is a grassroots network of student-run studios led by “creative activists” who hope to create social impact in local communities across the U.S. Like many DFA members, Yuri has an eclectic background. His bio reads: “Yuri is many things: an entrepreneur, a scientist, a design activist, but most of all, he is an eternal optimist. Born in France and educated in the U.S., Yuri has spent his life exposed to different European and American people and cultures, and as a result truly feels part of one human family.”

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JUGAAD INNOVATION Western corporations can no longer just rely on the old formula that sustained innovation and growth for decades: a mix of top-down strategies, expensive R&D projects and rigid, highly structured innovation processes. Jugaad Innovation argues that the West must look to places like India, China, and Africa for a new, bottom-up approach to frugal and flexible innovation.

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